Nicolas Sarkozy or Sarko -- as both his supporters and opponents call him -- was born on January 28, 1955 in Paris, France.
Sarkozy has been elected to the Presidency of the Republic in the 2007 election runoff vote, held on May 6. He beat the Socialist Party leader Ségolène Royal in the second round of the elections. He will be sworn in as successor to Jacques Chirac on May 16.
Since November 2004, he has been president of the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP), France's major right political party, and he was Minister of the Interior in the government of Dominique de Villepin, with the honorific title of Minister of State.
His political career began at the age of 22, when he became a city councillor in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a wealthy and exclusive western suburb of Paris.
He was the youngest ever mayor of any town in France with a population of over 50,000 where he served from 1983 to 2002. In 1988, he became a deputy in the National Assembly.
A controversial figure in France, he is known for his tough stance on law and order, and his admiration for a new economic model for France, suggesting that the country should have a more liberalised economy. Critics have accused him of being an authoritarian demagogue, ready to trade away civil liberties for political gains.